Nicolas Pepe needs to prove the doubters wrong this season, says ex- Arsenal wingers Jimmy Carter and Perry Groves.

The Ivory Coast international became the Gunners' record signing last year after they paid £72m to secure his services from Lille.

But Pepe struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League and managed just five goals in 31 top-flight appearances.

Carter - who had a four-year stay in north London during the 90s - reckons the 25-year-old is fortunate Arteta took charge after Unai Emery's dismissal in November.

"Perhaps another manager would have looked at Pepe and decided he wasn't right," he said. "There would have been a chance of him getting moved on.

"Let's be honest, he was disappointing initially - especially off the back of the big price tag. But I think Arteta has seen something in him.

Nicolas Pepe had a tough first season at Arsenal

"It was against West Ham where he was brilliant and I'm sure from then on he decided Pepe could do a job for the football club.

"He's got ability - that's for sure - and having the backing of a manager gives you so much confidence. It'll help him improve even more.

"Players also sometimes take a little bit of time to settle, but he's now won the FA Cup and bedded in well with his team-mates.

"I expect him to go up a level after virtually a full campaign under his belt with Arsenal."

Mikel Arteta helped bring the best out of Nicolas Pepe

Pepe was rested for the Community Shield victory over Liverpool last weekend.

Bukayo Saka was given the chance to impress on the right flank in his absence.

Groves has warned that Pepe still has plenty of work to do. And he's urged the wide man to keep putting in the hard yards behind the scenes.

"Pepe is very frustrating because he keeps doing the same things over and over - cutting in on his left," said Groves, who won two league titles during his stint at Arsenal.

Gabriel Magalhaes officially joined Arsenal from French club Lille this week

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"He needs a lot of one vs one training, where he's encouraged to go on the outside of people.

"Don't keep cutting in. It makes things predictable and easy for defenders. At just over 6ft tall, he’s also got to use his size and stature more."

Meanwhile, Arsenal raided Lille yet again this summer for Brazilian centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who arrived at the Emirates earlier this week after a £22.5m fee was agreed.

The 22-year-old is highly rated and will be battling William Saliba for a starting spot.

William Saliba has begun training with Arsenal ahead of the new Premier League season

Saliba was acquired from Saint-Etienne for £27m 12 months ago before returning to his former club on loan.

Groves has warned that buying multiple players from France is a high-stakes strategy, though.

"Every transfer is a risk," he added. "But the thing is, if you buy someone from La Liga or the Bundesliga, then their standard is very high.

"The Bundesliga is the nearest physically to the Premier League. The risk of signings players from Germany is minimal.

"Getting someone from Ligue 1 is a far bigger gamble because it's nowhere near as strong."